Winter chill puts Mumbai’s air quality in ‘poor’ zone

Even as Mumbai’s Air Quality Index (AQI) continues to be in the ‘poor’ category, Bandra Kurla Complex (BKC) and Navi Mumbai have been reporting an AQI of over 300 for the past three consecutive days.

According to data of System of Air Quality Weather Forecasting and Research (SAFAR), a government of India initiative which provides location-specific information on air quality in near real time and monitors AQI at 10 stations, an AQI between 301 and 400 is categorised as ‘very poor’

On Friday the planned business district BKC recorded the AQI of 362, which was the highest in the last three days. On Thursday, the AQI of BKC was 353 while on Wednesday it was recorded at 350.

Similarly, while AQI of Navi Mumbai was 329 on Friday, it was recorded at 317 and 304 on Thursday and Wednesday respectively.

Throughout Friday, Mumbai was covered with haze and visibility was reduced in different parts of the city. By evening, Mumbai’s overall AQI was 218 (poor category) while that of Malad was 303 (very poor), Mazgaon 201 (poor), Chembur 245 (poor) and Andheri 218 (poor).

With the onset of winter, air quality began to deteriorate in the city. As winter sets in, PM concentration in the air rises. PM 2.5 is considered as one of the most dangerous particulate matter pollutant due to its small size and the health impact as it is known to easily enter lungs and trigger respiratory illnesses.

The air quality was poor for several days in November. It improved later, and post-December 15, the air quality deteriorated again. The overall AQI of the city was 83 on December 15 and the same crossed the 200-mark on December 16. On December 17 it was 208, rising to 218 on Friday.

According to Dr Gufran Baig, scientist and programme director at SAFAR, poor AQI is a common phenomenon during winter. He said, "Mainly due to cold wave conditions and wind blowing from polluted land to the ocean. The AQI in Mumbai and adjoining areas has once again deteriorated in the last three days, it will continue to be bad for the next two days."

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